Romeo Lavia is on the brink of finalising his move from Southampton to Chelsea with new details coming to light over the failure of Liverpool to seal the midfielder’s signature.
The teenage star is set to seal an immediate return to the Premier League with Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who have struck a deal worth around £58m with Southampton. That comes after the Reds saw a number of bids for Lavia dismissed by Southampton before eventually agreeing on a fee.
But their failure to wrap up his signing quickly has since allowed Chelsea to move in and gazump them for the Belgian star.
Indeed, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was desperate to add Lavia to his midfield mix, which has already been shorn of several players this summer. And while the losses of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and, to a lesser extent, James Milner, were long planned for, the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho came much more out of the blue.
As a result, Klopp and Co have been left scrambling around to fill their midfield vacancies with the new season now underway.
Despite that desperation, that has not stopped Liverpool trying to snatch Lavia for under Southampton’s valuation. To that end, initial offers worth £37m and then an increased bid of around £43m were rejected by Saints.
Southampton, though, continued to insist their £50m asking price was met and refused to buckle to Liverpool’s offers.
Since then, Chelsea – in need of new midfield recruits themselves – have stepped in to not only better Saints’ demands, but better it.
And while Chelsea’s move has sprung Liverpool into action, their increased efforts have seemingly come too late. As a result, Chelsea have now struck a deal in the region of £58m (£53m up front with a further £5m in add-ons) with Saints.
Liverpool failure to sign Romeo Lavia explained
That failure leaves Liverpool having to re-explore possible deals for other long-term targets.
That said, they do have options aplenty, with this feature examining all 70 midfielders Liverpool have been linked with in the summer 2023 transfer window.
And while some of those options still remain a possibility for Klopp, many of them have since moved elsewhere and been taken off the market.
It all means the final two weeks of the summer window will be a frentic one for Liverpool.
And in the meantime, the failure to sign Lavia has now been explained by a bruising report in The Guardian.
They claim the midfielder was left ‘bemused’ by Liverpool’s behaviour over negotiations. And while the Reds eventually matched Southampton’s asking price, his representatives felt Lavia was only a ‘second-choice option’ for Klopp and Co.
Furthermore, that feeling was vindicated when Liverpool submitted a £110m offer to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton. And while the Ecuadorian rejected the Reds for Chelsea, Klopp and Co were left with more egg on their faces after being snubbed by Lavia too.
Chelsea beat Liverpool to Lavia transfer punch
Explaing more about Lavia’s impeding £58m transfer to Chelsea, Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox gave his take on the negotiations.
“I think you know, it’s well known that we’ve had some significant interest in Romeo, we’ve had an offer which we accepted from Liverpool,” he said at a BBC Solent Fans’ Forum event.
“Then Chelsea came to the table. So we’re currently in negotiation with Chelsea now so it’s a real tricky period for Romeo.
“But I’m confident that something will get done in the next week or so or in the next few days.”
Quite simply, Liverpool’s dawdling over the fee has come back to bite them, with Chelsea nipping in to leave Klopp deflated.
Lavia’s exit will see his former side Manchester City netting 20% of the deal, meaning £10m of the fee will be heading to the Etihad.
But for Liverpool, it is now back to the drawing board with reports on Tuesday suggesting Klopp has quickly moved on.